Vedanta Chairman Calls for Private Sector in Gold and Copper to Cut Imports

Vedanta Chairman Calls for Private Sector in Gold and Copper to Cut Imports

A Call for Private Sector Involvement

Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal has urged the Indian government to consider private sector involvement in the gold and copper sectors to reduce the country's heavy reliance on imports. Despite possessing ample resources, India imports a staggering 900 tonnes of gold annually, worth $45 billion, and 95% of its copper requirement, amounting to $3 billion.

Agarwal highlights the dominance of public sector companies in both gold and copper mining, citing Hatti Gold Mines, Bharat Gold Mines, and Hindustan Copper Limited as examples. Despite their potential, production has remained stagnant, prompting the need for alternative solutions.

While some may argue that resource limitations are the culprit, Agarwal believes that additional investment and modern technology could unlock the immense potential of these assets. However, he acknowledges the inherent risk associated with such investments and the government's competing priorities.

Given these challenges, Agarwal proposes inviting private sector participation as the most viable solution. He suggests that divesting government shares in these companies could pave the way for private companies to take over and revitalize the sectors. This, in turn, could generate significant revenue for the government through taxes and royalties.

Furthermore, Agarwal emphasizes the importance of protecting jobs during this transition. He envisions a scenario where substituting imports with domestic production and expanding these industries could lead to the creation of thousands of downstream industries and massive job opportunities. This, he argues, is the need of the hour and would be immensely beneficial for India's economic growth and development.